This time of year, many building firms are thinking about their spring launches. Staff is busy paving streets, planting yards, and decorating houses. But what if you’re selling a community that hasn’t been built yet?
As we near spring selling season, I’d like to focus my blog on one of the most difficult types of sales: pre-sales. These entail selling houses long before streets are complete and models are built. Generating revenues and profits before a neighborhood even exists can be daunting to even the most seasoned sales pro.
Social media can come in handy for launching an unbuilt community. When there is nothing to buy, you have to sell the joy of the home, not the price of the house. Deliver the experience and share the magic—and the commitment of quality service and on-time delivery. Focus on details that will spark greater interest in the weeks leading up to your launch.
Social media is about building relationships and having conversations, not a monologue. Throughout the year, your marketing team has built a following. As the launch approaches, begin posting bits of information about the event on your networks (Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Google +, Pinterest, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc.).
Be limited with the details at first. Your goal is to build interest. As the date gets closer, offer up more savory news, including special incentives for buyers and referrals. Reinforce the unique selling proposition of the property. Highlight any special guests or activities such as celebrity appearances or prize giveaways. Don’t over-promote the “party” aspect. The marketing message should focus on the real estate offering and its value.
To ensure that a consistent set of messages is passed along all of your social network channels, coordinate them with your overall marketing materials.
Your website’s blog is a great place to chat about the launch. Focus each post on one specific aspect—like activities or the Reservation Certificate program—rather than repeating yourself. Think about your blog posts as building blocks, creating a clear picture of the plans and the unique features and benefits of the new community.
Blogs are also great for your website’s search engine optimization (SEO). Why? SEO is the process of affecting the visibility of a website or a web page in a search engine's unpaid ("organic") search results. When someone types in search terms, like “new homes” or “home builder” and the name of your city or town, the results that are returned by the search engine are based on SEO. In general, the higher ranked and more frequently a site appears in the search results list, the more visitors it will receive from the search engine's users. As a rule, the more often you update the information on your website, the higher your site will appear in search results. So, frequent blogging is good for your launch—and for your SEO!
Here are some blogging topics:
• What to expect at the launch
• Background on the developer/builder
• Progress report
• Get to know the area
• Design features
• Meet the team
• Frequently asked questions
• Update on launch plans
Refresh your homepage to prominently feature the launch. Highlight special events with the weekend itinerary. Include links to the elevations, site map, community overview, blog, and contact (“Send me more information” and “Schedule a personal visit”).
Be sure your website has a responsive web design (RWD). RWD provides optimal viewing and easy reading and navigation with a minimum of resizing and scrolling across a wide range of devices, from desktop monitors to mobile phones. Consider this data: Google has confirmed it's now serving more searches on smartphone and tablets than desktops. The message is clear: If your website is not built for mobile, then you're going to be left behind.
This post has been adapted from my new e-book co-written with Mollie Elkman, PROVEN PRE-SALES: How to Successfully Launch a New Community, which guides home builders through the process of successfully launching a new home community.